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Climate Change Policy in North America

Climate Change Policy in North America: Designing Integration in a Regional System

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 376
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  • Book Info
    Climate Change Policy in North America
    Book Description:

    Climate Change Policy in North Americais the first book to examine how cooperation respecting climate change can emerge within decentralized governance arrangements.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6635-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Neil Craik, Isabel Studer and Debora VanNijnatten
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. Part One: Cooperation and Integration in North American Climate Governance

    • 1 Designing Integration: The System of Climate Change Governance in North America
      (pp. 5-34)

      In August 2009, U.S. President Obama, Mexican President Calderon, and Canadian Prime Minister Harper issued the North American Leaders’ Declaration on Climate Change and Clean Energy, a political statement that outlined a shared vision for a “low-carbon North America,” and they committed the three national governments to cooperate across a broad range of initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.¹ The issuance of this declaration marked the first major affirmation by the three North American leaders of the importance of North America as a governance level to address climate change.

      At first blush, North America as a level of governance may...

    • 2 Supply and Demand for a North American Climate Regime
      (pp. 35-68)

      In conceiving of North American climate change governance as a system, chapter 1 noted that the system as a whole will exhibit common institutional features that fundamentally influence the nature and potential of cooperative activities.² In this respect, a key feature – one that echoes throughout the contributions in this volume – is the lack of hierarchical or “top-down” institutions that might coordinate and integrate the policy activities of the myriad public and private entities in North America engaged in climate change policy. This remains the case, even though high levels of economic integration and energy inter-dependence between the three countries prevail,...

  7. Part Two: Cases of North American Climate Cooperation

    • 3 Building on Sub-Federal Climate Strategies: The Challenges of Regionalism
      (pp. 71-107)

      Sub-federal (sub-national) governments around the world have proven unexpectedly central players in the formation and implementation of policies designed, at least in part, to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to attempt to mitigate the threat of climate change. From New York to New South Wales, British Columbia to Bavaria, and Baja California to Catalonia, numerous state and provincial governments have regularly proven more adept in developing climate policies than their federal counterparts. Indeed, this sub-federal dynamism has coincided with inertia in federal capitals and inconclusive international bargaining sessions designed to find common ground in attempting to address a global...

    • 4 Standards Diffusion: The Quieter Side of North American Climate Policy Cooperation?
      (pp. 108-131)

      The preceding chapters argue that the prospects for setting economy-wide GHG reduction targets and establishing (linked) national carbon markets to implement these targets across North America are poor. Even a short while ago, the outlook for carbon trading at the sub-national level appeared brighter, but as Barry Rabe explains in the preceding chapter, these projects are also imperilled. What, then, are the other options for moving forward with GHG mitigation on the continent?

      Although governments have various policy tools available to them to pursue emissions reductions, regulation is potentially the quickest and most effective. Moving ahead with standard-setting, sector by...

    • 5 Deploying the Smart Grid across Borders in North America
      (pp. 132-156)

      With the electricity sector being a major contributor to the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions, the means by which this infrastructure is managed is critical to the evolution of climate change governance. Electricity delivery systems are being altered in various ways, and they are also being populated with more information and communications technologies; these developments, which are being carried out with the aim of creating a “smart grid,” can have considerable benefits in climate change mitigation.

      This chapter investigates the evolving domestic and cross-jurisdictional governance structures associated with the smart grid in North America. While most are located on the continent,...

    • 6 New Approaches to Climate Mitigation: Collaborative Strategies for Developing Renewable Energy in North America
      (pp. 157-181)

      This chapter focuses on a different aspect of the regional climate policy system, namely those tools and instruments that encourage renewable energy development. An ambitious renewable energy strategy offers considerable benefits for all three countries of North America, in the form of significant CO₂ emission reductions, new economic activity, and greater energy security. For Mexico, in particular, renewables can foster energy security and technical capacity-building, especially at the local level. In fact, renewable energy development has also been identified as a central pillar of its ambitious national climate strategy, given the recent commitment to increase renewables as a share of...

    • 7 Climate Financing in a North American Context
      (pp. 182-210)

      The current state of play for climate financing across the three North American countries indicates that specifically regional initiatives in this area are limited. Instead, climate financing is typically discussed on a global scale under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with less explicit consideration of the means by which cooperation could occur regionally. As a consequence, this chapter is somewhat more speculative than others in this section. At the same time, however, this chapter highlights a number of critical linkages between climate finance and the implementation of other aspects of climate policy in...

  8. Part Three: Policy Infrastructure

    • 8 Regional Climate Policy Facilitation: The Role of the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation
      (pp. 213-245)

      This chapter considers the role that the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) may play in an emerging system of regional climate governance. The CEC, which was created by the three parties to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through the North American Agreement for Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), is the only international environmental government organization for North America and has a broad mandate to foster and promote environmental cooperation among Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Nevertheless, until recently, the CEC has only sparingly addressed climate change within its activities, a reflection of the reticence of the United...

    • 9 Design Issues for Linking Carbon Markets
      (pp. 246-272)

      Among the most salient methods for regional cooperation in climate policy is mutual participation in a market for greenhouse gas emission (carbon) permits. In principle, this can occur through complete harmonization of climate policy targets and market rules across federal and state regulations to create a single carbon market. In North America, however, this appears far more likely to occur by linking separate regional markets, possibly federal and state/provincial, with each market operating subject to different but consistent rules.¹ As described elsewhere in this volume, there is little prospect for the emergence in North America of a single, unified carbon...

    • 10 Developing Integrated Carbon Accounting Systems
      (pp. 273-300)

      The starting premise of this volume is that North American climate change governance activities are currently, and will continue to be, highly decentralized in their structure. The result is an array of regulatory and voluntary activities oriented towards mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across different scales and diverse contexts. The specific challenges associated with integrating these activities are addressed elsewhere in this volume, but at the heart of many of these mechanisms is a system by which GHG emissions, emitted, reversed, or averted, can be measured, reported, and verified (MRV).

      Within a decentralized climate governance structure, cooperation between actors and...

    • 11 Trade Rules, Dispute Settlement, and Barriers to Regional Climate Cooperation
      (pp. 301-332)

      International trade seems at times to be the bête noire of environmentalists. Not only is trade itself blamed for direct harm to the environment from the related transportation of goods, but the institutions established under international trade agreements are blamed for restricting the ability of governments to implement environmental policy.¹ When an environmental policy imposes costs on a foreign industry, that industry (directly or indirectly through its government) may challenge the policy under a trade agreement in an attempt to eliminate the policy. The mere threat of such challenges may change environmental policy. Of course, on the other side, environmental...

    • 12 Conclusion
      (pp. 333-352)

      This volume has proceeded on the basis of two principal premises. The first, which is largely descriptive, is that the structure of North American climate change governance is decentralized and diverse in both the range of actors involved in cooperative activities and the form of activities undertaken. The second, which is more conceptual, is that North American climate governance, while consisting of distinct cooperative activities, can be understood as a complex system with multiple operating sub-systems. Conceptualizing North American climate governance in this way draws our attention to the ways in which the main structural features of the system mould...

  9. Appendix Select GHG programs, standards, and guidelines relevant to North America by domain
    (pp. 353-362)
  10. Contributors
    (pp. 363-364)
  11. Index
    (pp. 365-369)